Frustrated mayor has to retract news of parks re-opening

Updated 5/3/2020 9:16 AM

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. -- There may be nothing worse for a mayor than to have to retract the good news he's given his constituents.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens had to do that last week after crossed wires with state officials led him to announce that Murphysboro State Park and Kinkaid Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area would open Friday with a relaxed statewide stay-at-home order.


Gov. J.B. Pritzker's revised order does allow for re-opening some state parks, but not the ones Stephens publicized near Murphysboro, 98 miles (158 kilometers) southeast of St. Louis.

Stephens said he had conversations with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and received confirmation emails and heard similar news from local administrators and even citizens who had checked on their own.

Stephens said he believes initial conversations were with IDNR officials who were referring to a different list of outdoor areas set to re-open. His social media post which took back the good news included copies of emails that seemed to indicate he was on solid ground in making the announcement.

State parks, along with schools and nonessential businesses, had been closed since March 21 to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Pritzker extended the last order, which expired Thursday, until May 30 because of the persistence of the virus.

But some state parks are now open, and nonessential businesses can fill phone or on-line orders. Medical facilities may start doing delayed elective surgeries also.

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